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Saturday 18 May |
Saint of the Day: St. John I
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This may be the hardest prayer

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Fr. Peter John Cameron, OP - published on 07/02/23

The gift that Jesus desires you to give him at this moment — no matter how mortified and miserable you may be — is the gift of yourself, just the way you are right now.

This may be the hardest prayer — prayer when we consider it hypocritical to pray. Prayer when we’re appalled to pray. It happens when we fall into sin — of whatever sort — and it guts us. We feel guilty. And if the culprit is a recurring sin, a chronic sin, the shameful feelings hit even harder. We become disappointed in ourselves … disgusted … at a dead end. How can we possibly pray?

The problem is the premise with which we approach prayer. We suppose that God expects us to be all spiritually spick-and-span prior to our prayer. And we presume it is our duty to make ourself acceptable to God so that we can be “worthy” to pray to him. But you see the vicious circle. And it is vicious.

This is the foundational truth we need to keep before us at all times: No matter how badly we may have fallen in the previous moment, in this present moment God is actually loving us, and he is waiting for us to accept that gift of his. God loves us because he is good, not because we are. The gift that Jesus desires you to give him at this moment — no matter how mortified and miserable you may be — is the gift of yourself, just the way you are right now. It is Jesus — and not ourselves — who makes it possible for us to do this. Our only job is to give ourselves to God in an act of love that expresses our total confidence in his love for us.

At every moment we are loved solely because of the goodness of God. There is absolutely nothing we can possibly do to entice God’s love, to qualify for it, or to make ourselves more eligible for it. When we fall, Jesus wants us to trust him even more than at other times because it is in that miserable moment of our life that we need him the most. What glorifies God like nothing else is our total dependence upon him, especially when we cannot bear even to look at ourselves in our humiliation. Only Jesus’ love can make us worthy of his love. He knows our sins … our wretchedness … right to its depth, and Jesus loves us in that very knowledge.

It is the Evil One who would exploit our shame and guilt to prevent us from coming to Jesus, just when we need him the most. He makes it seem almost virtuous not to pray. But it’s diabolical. That is why we must constantly meditate on that foundational truth: Only what is from Jesus can please Jesus. And Jesus is giving you the ability to give yourself to him right now, just the way you are, which is how he wants you. He is not scandalized by your evil. Jesus is your Redeemer, your Savior, your Messiah. Jesus is the Great Physician who looks upon your sins as so many wounds to be healed. If you don’t draw back, if you dare to show those wounds to him, he will heal them. You will be healed.


Follow Fr. Cameron’s series on prayer here.

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